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Federation questions how part-time PC policy integrates into 'overstretched service facing unprecedented times'

But new scheme wins 'welcome' reviews for increasing the appeal and accessibility of policing as a career
Published - 13/06/2019 By - Nick Hudson - Police Oracle

Rank and file fears fresh demands imposed by allowing part-time constables into the ranks may impact on existing officers “already stretched beyond belief”.

Police federation leaders today questioned how the introduction of part-time PCs for the first time will work when the service is facing “unprecedented times” operating “thousands of officers short”.

Additional concerns revolve around a scheme that will be sorely tested dealing with a “massive incident” requiring police response at short notice.

National and London federations gave yesterday’s news of policing’s plans to sweep aside its “inflexible” image to a work versus family-life balance a guarded welcome.

The Met Police’s decision to change its recruitment policy to "break down barriers" deterring women from joining is being seen as a “positive” which increases the appeal and accessibility of policing as a career, and helps to further diversify the workforce.

From November, all new constable recruits will get the option to choose from full-time, part-time 24-hour or part-time 16-hour working patterns.

The Met believes it is the first force in the UK to offer these part-time positions and it follows research that shows full-time working hours deter women from considering a career in policing.

Met Police Federation chairman Ken Marsh said: “Any scheme which helps us to recruit and retain more female police officers and colleagues from diverse communities is to be welcomed however we must not compromise, and should ensure that we continue to hire the best to be Metropolitan Police officers.”

But he added pointedly: “And that police regulations are adhered to.

“We have concerns over how – with a workforce already thousands of police officers short of where it should be – this new scheme will work when frankly there is a massive incident that requires officers to be called on at short notice.

“Police numbers matter. And therefore we are very wary over the demands that having an increased number of part-time colleagues will have on existing officers policing London during unprecedented times.

“They are already stretched beyond belief so we must make sure they are looked after and not overly burdened.”

It is hoped the planned changes will make police work more attractive to both men and women with family commitments and comes in the same year the Met is celebrating 100 years of women serving in its force.

Police Federation and England and Wales equality lead Peggy Lamont broadly welcomed the move at a time of depleting officer numbers, commenting: “When police numbers are plummeting it is imperative we are able to attract and retain adequate numbers of officers and this new policy will no doubt play a role in that.

“So, any initiative which increases the appeal and accessibility of policing as a career has to be a positive.” 

She added: “Hopefully this will enable the Met – and potentially other forces in future – to recruit more people who have caring responsibilities or other commitments which mean full-time employment is not possible for them; and help them to further diversify their workforce.

“Working with our colleagues at the Metropolitan Police Federation, I will monitor with interest how this initiative progresses, and hope that the positives from it can be replicated around the country to enable as many people as possible to embark on what is a unique and rewarding career.”

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